In the latest of a series of HMICFRS PEEL (Policing Effectiveness, Efficiency and Legitimacy) reports released today (Thursday 2 March), HMIC inspectors have given Avon and Somerset a grading of “good.”
It means the force has retained the rating of good from Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services in recognition of how efficient it is in keeping people safe and reducing crime.
This is set against a national picture of just two outstanding forces, 30 (including Avon and Somerset) with a good grading, while 10 “require improvement.”
HMI Mike Cunningham said: “The findings from this inspection are positive, with the majority of forces able to demonstrate that they have absorbed budget reductions well and have improved the efficiency with which they operate.
“We recognise the pressures forces are facing are increasingly complex. The speed with which forces can improve efficiency relies on the continued resilience, adaptability and commitment of those working in policing.”
The report said of Avon and Somerset: “Our overall judgment this year is the same as last year. The force is judged to be outstanding in its understanding of demand; its use of resources to manage demand is judged to be good; and its planning for future demand is judged to be good.
It acknowledged the significant progress the force has made in the year since their last inspection.
In the past year inspectors acknowledged the force has made significant improvements, protecting neighbourhood policing whilst tackling demand to ensure that vulnerable victims and communities get the support they need. Successes include:
- Preserving the numbers of frontline officers and PCSOs because of their importance in connecting with communities to gather intelligence, get upstream of crime and provide reassurance
- Investing significant management support to deal with demand from some of the most complex, sensitive and damaging crimes
- Continuing to place vulnerable victims at the heart of policing, whether they are victims of CSE or sexual offences, or vulnerable elderly people who are prey to rogue traders and distraction burglaries
- Establishing a mental health triage in the communications centre to ensure people in mental health crisis get the right help; we anticipate over the next twelve months this will result in us attending 1,100 fewer incidents
- Agreeing a protocol with fire service to be the first attender where possible on calls to check the welfare of individuals.
- Introduction of QlikSense, a data visualisation application which gives real-time information about demand, resources and crime.
- Introduction of a new ‘borderless’ approach for response and investigations which means we can better flex our resources to meet demand wherever it is in the force.
- Understanding the nature of complex crime that targets vulnerable victims or communities, such as child sexual exploitation, safeguarding concerns and domestic abuse.
- Raising awareness about female genital mutilation (FGM) leading to an annual increase in referrals to social care and a better understanding of the problem through more effective sharing of information and data.
- Continuing work with Unseen UK and the creation of an Avon and Somerset Anti-Slavery Partnership to strengthen the identification, safeguarding and disruption of crimes that exploit the vulnerable.
- A mental health triage team in the force control room has led to advice being provided on 3,228 cases and avoided the need for 370 police deployments since October 2016 – a saving of 1,300 hours of police time.
Deputy Chief Constable Sarah Crew welcomed the report: “The HMIC have praised us for having a culture of continuous improvement – one where staff at all levels are encouraged to review their area of work for improvement opportunities.”
“Inspectors were encouraged to see staff responding and participating positively to our blogs and the Chief Constable’s roadshow events, and highlighted our challenge to identify a one percent improvement opportunity. They recognised that these marginal gains had grown in momentum, encouraging the workforce to get involved in force-wide improvement and the development of specific projects, all of which have helped to achieve improvements in the way we work.
“We’re very encouraged to see HMIC recognise the positive steps we’ve put in place over the past two years to tackle improvements in crime recording, which we’ve worked hard to achieve and which have put us above the national average.
“The commitment and dedication of staff to embrace the new systems and provide a first class service for our local communities against a challenging economic background has not gone unnoticed.
“But we aren’t complacent, we’re on a journey. Our ambition is for Avon and Somerset to be an outstanding police force.” said DCC Crew.
Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens said: “From the HMIC’s report, I hope local people can see Avon and Somerset Constabulary are making good use of police resources and are leading the way in understanding the demand that complex crime presents.
“Being able to identify and predict offending patterns, using the latest technology, has been vital in understanding both current and future policing demands. I am excited about the prospect of taking the next step in developing predictive technologies, which will involve working with partner data and will enhance our collective capability to protect the most vulnerable from harm.
“The Constabulary’s commitment to partnership working not only helps in generating efficiencies and but also in improving the policing service local people receive. For example, the mental health triage scheme not only helps save officer time, as they have fewer incidents to attend, but more importantly ensures those experiencing mental health crisis receive the help they need at the very first point of contact.
“There is still work to be done, but I know the Constabulary are committed to continually improving their efficiency in order to achieve their vision of becoming an outstanding force.”
Posted on Friday 10th November 2017